Dining Plan Convenience???? Where's the Convenience?

CanadaDisney05

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
The general consensus that I hear about the dining plan that it usually doesn't save money, however people like it because of it's convenience. This has always confused me. What convenience does the dining plan offer?

Dining PlanNo Dining Plan
Tap magic band to payTap magic band to pay
Write in tip & tax on billWrite in tip & tax on bill
Use your credit card to pay for dining plan before travellingElectronically transfer money from chequing account to savings account before travelling to cover food costs. Use this money to pay off credit card when statement comes in.
Worry about not getting your money's worth all vacation, so force yourself to eat the most expensive meal, and eat even if not necessarily hungry.Worry about paying too much out of pocket so try to eat cheaper items on menu & only eat when hungry.
If you eat over and above the budgeted amount of meals on the dining plan, pay for extra items with credit card.If you eat over and above the budgeted amount of money in savings account, pay for extra items with credit card.
If you eat less than the budgeted amount of meals, worry that you wasted a whole bunch of money. Then bring home a bunch of prepaid, overpriced snacks that will probably get crushed in your suitcase.If you eat less than the budgeted amount of meals, spend extra cash on something you enjoy.

What am I missing? If anything, it seems like the Dining Plan is actually less convenient as it traps you into a specific methodology of how you should consume your meals. This is the opposite of convenient.
 
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omniscientmommy

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 12, 2018
I assume you're staying on site. Are you renting DVC points and getting something with a kitchenette or full kitchen? If not you most likely will not have a lot of fridge space which means most, if not all of your meals would be purchased via Disney. You can use Disney Dining Calculator. This is a great tool to figure out an estimate on what you'd spend at Disney for food. Of course you can bring in snacks purchased from a grocery store or another place if you don't have a fridge and most drinks don't need to be in a fridge, like water and Gatorade.

On the flip side if you do have a kitchenette or kitchen you could order groceries. Note that Disney is now charging a $6 delivery fee. That means that you could have more options for eating meals in the room or making food and bring stuff to the parks.

Besides all of that there's also the "I'm on Vacation and don't want to think about making/bringing food anywhere." Again I would reference the link to the calculator above to see if it makes sense for you to get the dining plan.

Personally for us it's never made any sense to purchase the dining plan at any level. My boys are too picky, dh has serious food allergies and even when we stay on site in a standard hotel room w/ a tiny fridge we still order some groceries; ie: cereal, milk, sandwich making stuff, water, gatorade. Our stomachs just don't do well on prepared meals/snacks for 7-10 days.
 
  • sharonabe

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 22, 2009
    What am I missing? If anything, it seems like the Dining Plan is actually less convenient as it traps you into a specific methodology of how you should consume your meals. This is the opposite of convenient.
    Those who like the convenience don't care about the cost, don't care if they get their full value, don't care if they bring snacks home. They DO like that it's paid for completely before they leave home, they can order whatever they like without worrying about the price, they can let their kids get snacks when they want them.

    It's definitely a particular mindset and it works for those who have it. If they didn't have the DDP, they would obsess over the cost of food, they wouldn't do as many character meals, they would feel like their vacation wasn't as magical.

    To each his own.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    Those who like the convenience don't care about the cost, don't care if they get their full value, don't care if they bring snacks home. They DO like that it's paid for completely before they leave home, they can order whatever they like without worrying about the price, they can let their kids get snacks when they want them.

    It's definitely a particular mindset and it works for those who have it. If they didn't have the DDP, they would obsess over the cost of food, they wouldn't do as many character meals, they would feel like their vacation wasn't as magical.

    To each his own.

    I agree. I am that person, although we do not lose money on the plans. I know what the family eats and how they like to order so I know in advance that their dining habits mirror the way the plan is laid out.

    OP- you are not missing anything, Plans are personal decisions, as are dining preferences. If the plans are not made for your family's dining preferences and habits, then just do not book them. If they do coincide then it is safe to say they may work for you.

    In regards to any dining calculators, they are out of date. To know if a plan is the right fit for your family you really need to do some math.
     

    Eeyore daily

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2019
    I have never done the DDP but, I think the convenience is more of having it prepaid than anything else. I don't make a lot of money so the last time my DBF and I went to Disney I didn't feel like I could indulge in food that I wanted to in order to not spend a lot of money. I think when I go back I'll get it simply since my BF will make better use out of it than I will but that way we can both eat at more expensive locations. I'm also hoping it will force us to slow down and relax, I had a problem with just QS as I wanted to go go go.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    I have never done the DDP but, I think the convenience is more of having it prepaid than anything else. I don't make a lot of money so the last time my DBF and I went to Disney I didn't feel like I could indulge in food that I wanted to in order to not spend a lot of money. I think when I go back I'll get it simply since my BF will make better use out of it than I will but that way we can both eat at more expensive locations. I'm also hoping it will force us to slow down and relax, I had a problem with just QS as I wanted to go go go.

    The dining built into your trip will definately make you slow down. My family likes the time spent in the restaurants, and will spend that time just chatting. It's funny, no matter where we vacation we make sure to take the time to have a family meal at least once a day, and never regret the moeny spent doing so.

    I would suggest that when you plan your next trip, spend time perusing the restaurants and menus. Look at what you and your BF will likely eat and drink and make a rough spreadsheet with each one you want to book, including CS restaurants for lunch or breakfast. If you think you will add in snacks account for them with an average of $5 each, and include alcoholic or specialty beverages only if you think you want to indulge. Then do some quick math. This will help you decide what plan, if any will work for you. Buy a plan if you are close in cost, put money on a gift card if not. Book your meals with or without the plan, and use the card to pay if you don't choose one.

    Either way, enjoy the restaurants and dining. Some folks prefer to graze and will hit the lounges for small plates and beverages, others want the full meal.
     
  • JW9DVC

    Former WDTC Guy
    Joined
    Sep 29, 2007
    Don’t be afraid to leave property and venture out. While time can be a factor. Lots of choices outside the world.
     

    ErinsMommy

    And though she be but little, she is fierce.
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2011
    The general consensus that I hear about the dining plan that it usually doesn't save money, however people like it because of it's convenience. This has always confused me. What convenience does the dining plan offer?

    Dining PlanNo Dining Plan
    Tap magic band to payTap magic band to pay
    Write in tip & tax on billWrite in tip & tax on bill
    Use your credit card to pay for dining plan before travellingElectronically transfer money from chequing account to savings account before travelling to cover food costs. Use this money to pay off credit card when statement comes in.
    Worry about not getting your money's worth all vacation, so force yourself to eat the most expensive meal, and eat even if not necessarily hungry.Worry about paying too much out of pocket so try to eat cheaper items on menu & only eat when hungry.
    If you eat over and above the budgeted amount of meals on the dining plan, pay for extra items with credit card.If you eat over and above the budgeted amount of money in savings account, pay for extra items with credit card.
    If you eat less than the budgeted amount of meals, worry that you wasted a whole bunch of money. Then bring home a bunch of prepaid, overpriced snacks that will probably get crushed in your suitcase.If you eat less than the budgeted amount of meals, spend extra cash on something you enjoy.

    What am I missing? If anything, it seems like the Dining Plan is actually less convenient as it traps you into a specific methodology of how you should consume your meals. This is the opposite of convenient.
    Worry about not getting your money's worth all vacation, so force yourself to eat the most expensive meal, and eat even if not necessarily hungry.

    Nope never over ate or ate just to eat and use up a credit?

    If you eat over and above the budgeted amount of meals on the dining plan, pay for extra items with credit card.

    The dining plan more than covers whatever we would eat, so we've never paid out of pocket anything other than tip.

    If you eat less than the budgeted amount of meals, worry that you wasted a whole bunch of money. Then bring home a bunch of prepaid, overpriced snacks that will probably get crushed in your suitcase.

    Nope again - if we eat less than what we paid for the dining plan so be it, I dont sit at meal time with a calculator to figure out how much I paid for the dining plan and how much we're paying for each meal if we paid out of pocket. As for the prepaid snacks, my daughter's classmates and friends quite enjoy the themed lollipops she brings back for them, and the rest of the snacks, we enjoy as well. As for the "overpriced" part, everything in Disney is overpriced IMO but yet we go time and time again so it can't be that bad.

    ---

    With the above said, what works for one family may not work for another. :confused3
     

    Ellie Webbs

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2019
    Some people prefer to know exactly how much meals will cost them ahead of time. Some think the dining plans are great and others hate them. Just depends what you prefer.
    We've always been lucky getting it free as we travel from the UK and so can't get normal room reductions anyway. This is so right, DH and I both live stressful lives atm and even if the DDP wasn't free we would still buy it for 2 reasons 1. The stress cut off of 'its done, it's sorted, I don't have to think anymore and 2. With the range of snacks at for instance flower and garden we tried some that were truly awful (some excellent too!) And thinking of wasting a credit feels better than wasting your hard earned cash. Silly I know!
     
  • wdwrule

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2013
    Hmmm tricky question. I don’t know if there’s a straight forward answer only because what is convenient to one person may not be convenient to the next person. Everyone’s mindset and goals are different. Kind of like how some people opt for the convenience of mouse keeping while others opt out for the convenience of extra spending money in their pocket.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    Hmmm tricky question. I don’t know if there’s a straight forward answer only because what is convenient to one person may not be convenient to the next person. Everyone’s mindset and goals are different. Kind of like how some people opt for the convenience of mouse keeping while others opt out for the convenience of extra spending money in their pocket.

    Absolutely. I have never understood why one way of vacationing should be everyones way. Being in the parks for only a partial day and getitiing out is bliss for my family, others tell me its a waste of money. Having a nice TS meals daily is perfect. Others hate the thought of having a place to be at a specific time. I find it assuring. Wandering around looking like lost souls works for us, but to others having a road map of time and place and breaks and attractions schedules throughout the day makes the vacation fun. All inclusive works for my family. Others would cringe.
    There is no wrong way to vacation and dine on vacation unless you are following someone elses dictates. Arbitrary rulings about the DDP without having any idea about family dynamics, dining preferences, ADR's in place and ages boggle my mind.
     

    Darklord77

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2014
    Only convenience of the DP is your meals are prepaid (at a premium price). I just buy $1500 worth of gift cards and use those. Same thing as prepaying for the DP. Only difference is I can use gift cards for other things. That way we aren't feeling compelled to eat because we already paid for it and we are not getting a shopping bag of useless snacks on our last day to use up the credits. Even with the addition of an alcoholic beverage with meals it's hard to get your $ back. I'm not the kind of person to throw $ away.
     

    goodeats

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2005
    The dining plan has increased the costs of certain meals to the point where the value is laughable to someone not on the dining plan. See BOG QS breakfast for $34 or a character breakfast buffet for $50. It's just not worth it, but at the same time certain experiences are worth having.

    I greatly prefer choosing what I want to eat, when I want to eat, but I hate being priced out of certain meals. I mean I could pay $34 for pastries and a mediocre entrée, but I don't want to!
     

    Farro

    Another day, another confused selfie.
    Joined
    Jun 19, 2016
    The dining plan has more benefit now that you get some booze with both lunch and dinner. :) And snacks always work out exceptionally well when you go during a festival. We will go during Flower/Garden and I don't foresee having any snack credits left.
     

    CanadaDisney05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2017
    Absolutely. I have never understood why one way of vacationing should be everyones way. Being in the parks for only a partial day and getitiing out is bliss for my family, others tell me its a waste of money. Having a nice TS meals daily is perfect. Others hate the thought of having a place to be at a specific time. I find it assuring. Wandering around looking like lost souls works for us, but to others having a road map of time and place and breaks and attractions schedules throughout the day makes the vacation fun. All inclusive works for my family. Others would cringe.
    There is no wrong way to vacation and dine on vacation unless you are following someone elses dictates. Arbitrary rulings about the DDP without having any idea about family dynamics, dining preferences, ADR's in place and ages boggle my mind.
    I agree, but I don't understand what this has to do with the question asked. When people say that they like the Dining Plan for the convenience, what convenience are they talking about? Reserving restaurants is not a function of the dining plan.

    I get that if the math works out where the dining plan is cheaper than paying out of pocket, it makes sense. I just don't understand why people say "I don't mind if it costs more. I'm willing to pay for the convenience of it."
     

    CanadaDisney05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2017
    The dining plan has increased the costs of certain meals to the point where the value is laughable to someone not on the dining plan. See BOG QS breakfast for $34 or a character breakfast buffet for $50. It's just not worth it, but at the same time certain experiences are worth having.

    I greatly prefer choosing what I want to eat, when I want to eat, but I hate being priced out of certain meals. I mean I could pay $34 for pastries and a mediocre entrée, but I don't want to!
    I'm not going to argue the price. Everyone's plans are different. If the dining plan works out to be cheaper, then I understand it.

    What I don't understand is when people say "I don't mind paying extra for the dining plan, because I like the convenience". What convenience are they talking about?
     

    CanadaDisney05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2017
    Hmmm tricky question. I don’t know if there’s a straight forward answer only because what is convenient to one person may not be convenient to the next person. Everyone’s mindset and goals are different. Kind of like how some people opt for the convenience of mouse keeping while others opt out for the convenience of extra spending money in their pocket.
    With "mousekeeping" there really is an added convenience. You don't have to clean your room. I get that.

    With the dining plan, you still have to pull out your credit card and pay (for the tax and tips) or tap your magic band. Your doing the same thing either way.

    The only "convenience" I can think of is that with the dining plan, you can make the payment to Disney instead of (1) buying a prepaid visa gift card or (2) putting the money in some sort of savings account. I don't personally see either as that big of pain to pay any more than a dollar or two premium to avoid doing so. Maybe others do?
     

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